We are nearly a month removed from an improbable Super Bowl comeback by the New England Patriots and its now time for fantasy football diehards to prepare for the 2017 season. With free agency and the NFL Draft right around the corner, the 2017 offseason is in full swing. In the Fantasy Spotlight 2017 Player Preview series the focus will be on players that are primed to make a huge fantasy impact in 2017.
Fantasy Spotlight 2017 Preview: Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota was drafted number two overall in 2015 by the Tennessee Titans with huge expectations. The athletic quarterback out of Oregon has made consistent strides during his first two seasons in the NFL. His numbers have improved in every important fantasy category through two seasons. Although there are injury concerns, Mariota looks primed for an impact 2017.
Year One to Year Two
As a rookie, Mariota was very impressive despite having a limited roster on offense. In 2015 he threw for 2,818 yards with 19 touchdowns and ten interceptions. He also ran for 252 yards and two touchdowns. These numbers were extremely impressive for a rookie quarterback thrust into a starting role. What makes his rookie season more impressive is the lack of star power around him. Besides tight end Delanie Walker, the Titans failed to have a receiver crack the 550 yard mark in 2015.
In 2016 Mariota took his game to another level. With an improved roster around him including running backs DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and receivers Tajae Sharpe and Rishard Matthews his numbers jumped across the board. His passing yards increased to 3,426 and his touchdowns increased to 26. Also his interceptions dropped to nine and his rushing yards shot up to 349. As far as fantasy rankings Mariota finished as the 16th ranked quarterback on Yahoo and the 15th on CBS.
Although Mariota enjoyed great success in his sophomore campaign, his season ended with a gruesome injury. In Week 16 with the Titans still in contention for a playoff spot, Mariota suffered a fractured fibula in a 38-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There is no question this injury is a concern going into the 2017 season but all reports are his recovery is going extremely well. He most likely will skip OTA’s, but should be 100% for training camp.
Assuming he comes out of training camp with a clean bill of health, year three will be even better for Mariota. His 2016 ADP (average draft position) of 123.7 according to rotowire.com, will improve in 2017. Naturally his rushing numbers will take a hit. However, with his skill position players returning, Mariota is primed to produce top ten fantasy quarterback numbers. The fantasy spotlight projects a stat line of 3,646/29/10 with an ADP of 114.